Evan L. Snyder
A CAPACITY FOR EVIL
Scene i - Set in the mid-1930s, the action begins at 8:15 a.m., New Year’s Eve day. Daniel, a well- respected private eye, and his fiancé, Angelica, wait in their New York City apartment for the arrival of his former “partner-in-crime-solving” and best man, Doyle. As they wait, Angelica reminds Daniel that these will be that last holidays before they marry, and asks him if that frightens him. He assures her that nothing could make him happier, promising that “Nothing can be more entire, and without reserve, than my love for you.”
As Doyle arrives, warm greetings are shared all around. Doyle furnishes them both with gifts, handing Daniel’s to him already unwrapped. He explains blithely, with Daniel’s powers of deduction, he would surely know the contents based on the “crinkle pattern in the wrapping paper... or something anyway,” so he chose not to even bother wrapping it. Angelica and he joke that it is “pretty much impossible to keep a secret from Daniel,” although Angelica boasts that Daniel has yet to figure out what she has gotten him this year.
The phone begins to ring and Daniel excuses himself to answer it. Meanwhile, Angelica and Doyle discuss his new career as a professor and his disappointment with his students’ apparent lack of knowledge, and she offers that perhaps what they lack in knowledge, they have instead in potential, in “promise for the future.” Daniel returns, clearly forlorn, and tells them that there has been murder. The police need Daniel’s help; and Doyle’s too, if he’d be willing. Daniel asks if do one last case, for old time’s sake. Doyle responds, “For you? One last case.”